Man-to-man cancer support group

The announcement Monday, January 11th by Quincy Mayor John Spring that he has prostate cancer has made a lot of men, and the women who love them, think about their health.

Coincidentally, we discovered a new support group starts this week in Quincy to help men who are battling cancer.

The Cancer Center at Blessing Hospital will now offer a man-to-man support program for men with any type of cancer.

The purpose of the program is to provide men the opportunity to talk about their challenges with other men in a comfortable environment.

This will help men manage their lives and not just survive their fight with cancer, but thrive.

How big of a need is there for a program, a support program like this?

"Well there is a huge need. And part of that goes back to our cases and what's being diagnosed in America. According to the American Cancer Society over 190,000 new cases in this nation will be diagnosed in 2010, with 27,000 of those ending up in mortality," said Administrative Director of the Blessing Cancer Program Bonnie Kleissle.

Those numbers are only for the number of new cases of prostate cancer in the US in 20-10.

The man who will lead that group has plenty of experience, he's a five-time cancer survivor.

KHQA's Jarod Wells asked him about his fight against cancer, and how he hopes to help other men who are in the same fight.

Don Russell said, "It used to be, the word cancer meant death. It doesn't any more."

Don Russell is living proof of that. Don began his battle with cancer in 1999 when he was diagnosed with Stage Four throat cancer. He got hit with Stage Four Prostate and bladder cancer in 2005. Russell had two more bouts with cancer through 2008.

Russell said, "As I was going through it, I didn't know what I was going to do, what was going to happen from day to day. I didn't know where I was going to get help from. But now, today, help is very, very easily accessible right now."

Russell will be leading the new man-to-man support group through Blessing Cancer Center.

Russell said, "I have been a peer-to-peer advocate for Blessing Cancer Center for about the past five or six years. It is something that has always been dear to me, to jump in and help any way I can as far as cancer is concerned."

"I know there are a lot of men out there that don't even want to talk about. And I think that is one of the worst things you can do, is not talk about it. The reason they don't want to talk about it is they're afraid of it, they don't know how to handle it."

"I believe that I can give them the support they need and help them through anything that they would want to talk about."

The first meeting of this new man-to-man support group will be this Sunday, January 17th at the Lake Room of Tony's Too in the Quincy Holiday Inn.

It will be from 2:30 to 4 PM.

The group will meet at the same time and place on the third Sunday of every month.

Meetings are completely confidential and are open to men with any form of cancer.